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The Resource Specialist Role In California: An Analysis Of Perceptions

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Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted


Problem. The Resource specialist is responsible for California's primary program to mainstream handicapped students. The Resource Specialist role is not comprehensively defined in state law or regulation and divergent expectations for Resource Specialists appear to impact upon successful program implementation. Purpose. The purpose of this study was to provide a comprehensive, prioritized description of the major tasks of the Resource Specialist role, as perceived by three groups of educators involved with pilot Resource Specialist Programs in Master Plan Region schools. These groups were: (1) site administrators responsible for regular and Resource Specialist Programs, (2) classroom teachers with Resource Specialist Program students mainstreamed into their classes, and (3) Resource Specialists. Procedures. A Resource Specialist Role Survey incorporating the nine major Resource Specialist tasks was developed from the literature, interviews and other sources and distributed to a sample of 300 educators. Respondents ranked tasks in their perceived order of importance, ranked the relative amount of time spent on each task, and indicated whether task time was adequate, should be increased or decreased. Data treatment of the 68 percent survey return included one-way ANOVA, two tailed t test, and chi-square. Significance was set at the .05 level. Findings. No significant differences existed in the way site administrators, classroom teachers and Resource Specialists perceived the relative importance of Resource Specialist tasks. The prioritized tasks were as follows: (1) student instruction, (2) student assessment, (3) program management, (4) collaboration with educators, (5) student counseling, (6) collaboration with parents, (7) site special education leadership, (8) change agent, and (9) collaboration with others. Significant differences existed in the following areas: (1) between elementary and secondary educators regarding perceptions of relative task importance and amount of time spent on tasks, (2) among the three educator groups regarding time spent and time which should be spent on tasks, and (3) between Resource Specialists with more or less than two years experience regarding the amount of time spent on tasks. Recommendations. (1) A study to determine more specifically the differences in perceptions of elementary and secondary educators. (2) A study to correlate perceptions with direct observation of time spent on Resource Specialist tasks. (3) A study to investigate the reasons for the differences in perceptions of the various educator groups.

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